How to Bathe Your Dog

Do you end up drenched when you attempt to bathe your dog? Just the mention of the word bath can send some dogs into a panic which makes the task of bathing your dog quite uncomfortable. Giving your dog a bath doesn’t have to be such a nerve-wracking experience. If you make your dog feel safe and comfortable you will have a much easier time.

Gather all of your supplies first- shampoo, conditioner, brush, towels, and treats. Place a rubber bath mat on the floor of the tub to keep your dog from slipping. Slippery bathtubs can cause anxiety in your dog and make him dislike baths even more. Before bathing, brush your dog’s coat to remove tangles, mats or loose hair. You’ll avoid dealing with them later and save on extra hair in your tub. You can use a removable hair strainer to prevent drain clogging. Make sure it seals tightly with the bathtub drain. If you have a detachable showerhead, use it instead. Many dogs are afraid of water running from a faucet, and a detachable showerhead is less threatening as well as easier to maneuver and it saves water as well. You can put moist cotton balls in the dog’s ears to keep water out. You can also put eye drops or mineral oil in your dog’s eyes to help keep the soap out.

If you start running the water before you put your dog in, it will help them get used to the sound and they won’t react as strongly when you put them in. Fill the tub with a little warm water and ease your dog into the tub. Use a cup or a handheld showerhead and wet your pet thoroughly. Now it’s time to shampoo. Be sure to never use human shampoo on dogs- only shampoo made specifically for dogs. Human shampoo is too harsh for dogs’ skin. If your dog has sensitive skin or skin problems you can use gentle oatmeal based or medicated shampoo made specifically for dogs. Lather your dog’s entire body from head to tail, but stay away from their eyes. Make sure to use enough shampoo- don’t be stingy! If you give your dog gentle soothing massages and rubs while lathering him up to make bath time more enjoyable and help your dog feel more secure.

Rinse your dog thoroughly, making sure to remove all traces of soap and getting in hard to rinse places like the belly, under tail, behind ears, etc. Shampoo residue can cause itching and scratching, which will make your pet miserable and can leas to skin infections. Rinse with one hand and with the other, rub water all over his body. While you are rinsing, let the bathtub drain. Conditioner is optional, but if you are planning on using it, work into fur and leave for about 2 minutes. While you are waiting, you can take a damp cotton ball and remove crust and dirt from around your pet’s eyes. Rinse thoroughly to remove conditioner.

While your dog is still standing in the shower, start drying the dog with towels in nice smooth strokes, removing all of the excess water trapped under their coats. Don’t rub, as this can tangle the hair and make brushing much harder and unpleasant. If you want your dog to dry quickly, you can use a hairdryer on a low setting to speed up the process. Most dogs want to run and shake after they’ve had a bath to dry off, so keep and eye on your pet. He may get into something to dirty his coat. When your pet is dry, brush his hair again. If it is cold outside, keep your dog warm after a bath or he could be susceptible to illness. Never let your dog get over heated after a bath.

A huge key to success when bathing your dog is treats and praise. Praise your dog throughout the whole process and give treats when it is over. The more you do this, the more they will think of baths in a positive light. Don’t be rough with your pet while bathing and never get upset or yell at your dog while bathing. This will only scare the dog and make him more resistant to the process.

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